Reka, The Tiger Is Leaving The Beardsley Zoo

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Oct 132021

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo will say goodbye next week to Reka, a female Amur tiger born at the Zoo, as she moves to a new permanent home.

We watched them grow

Born on November 25, 2017, Reka and her sister Zeya were raised by the Zoo’s animal care staff when their mother, Changbai, displayed no interest in her cubs. Zoo guests and supporters have followed Reka and Zeya’s journey from newborns whose survival was uncertain to the healthy young adult tigers they are today.

Managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), inter-regional transfers are arranged with careful attention to gene diversity in the hope that successful breeding will take place.

Last year, Zeya was sent to Rosamond Gifford Zoo as an excellent genetic match to that Zoo’s resident male tiger. Reka’s new home zoo will announce her arrival once a standard quarantine period is complete later this fall.  Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo remains home to Reka and Zeya’s mother, Changbai.

Amur tigers are very rare and are critically endangered in the wild. According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) statistics, today Amur tigers are thought to occupy less than seven percent of their original range.

Threatened by habitat loss and degradation, poaching, tiger-human conflict, and loss of prey, four of nine subspecies have disappeared from the wild just in the past hundred years. The future of the Amur tiger has been a major concern of the world’s zoos for many years as the species has been pushed toward extinction.

There is an SSP program in place for many species of animals through oversight by a group called the Taxon Advisory Group (TAG). The SSP makes breeding recommendations based on genetics, age and health of animals, and need for more of the species to protect future populations.

An Amur Tiger

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo’s Deputy Director, Don Goff, is the Co-Chair of the National Felid TAG group. He leads a committee of AZA-accredited zoo members whose goal is to save declining species.

“As sad as we are to say goodbye to Reka, the planned transfer of animals to other member zoos ensures the sustainability of a healthy, genetically diverse, and demographically varied AZA population,” Goff explained.

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo has had repeated success in breeding endangered species, a testament to the Zoo’s animal care specialists and the highest quality of animal care.

The Zoo has been the birthplace of multiple endangered species in recent years, including Amur tiger cubs, maned wolf pups, red wolf pups, three baby Giant anteaters, and two Amur leopard cubs.

About Amur tigers

The Amur, once called the Siberian tiger, is a rare subspecies of tiger, and the largest cat in the world. Adult male tigers can weigh up to 675 pounds, with females weighing up to 350 pounds. Similar to people’s fingerprints, no two tigers have the same striped pattern.

Amur tigers differ from other tigers with fewer, paler stripes, and a mane that helps to keep them warm. They live in southeast Russia as well as small areas of China and North Korea. They live for 10-15 years in the wild, and up to 22 years in human care.

Did Animals Act Differently During The Solar Eclipse?

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Aug 232017

The two endangered Amur Tigers got cozy during Monday’s Solar eclipse

What did you do during Monday’s Solar Eclipse? Did you watch NASA’s live feed? Put on some special glasses and experience it first hand? Take photos, like my friend Kevin out in Missouri where the coverage was 100%? Or just ignore it and go on with your day without doing anything special?

My granddaughter and I did not have the special glasses, so as an extension of our summer science experiments, we decided to go to the Beardsley Zoo and see if any of the animals acted differently.

Here’s what we observed:

At the peak of the eclipse, the maned wolves, which are usually quite docile, got into a tiff and had a tussle for a few minutes. None of the visitors had ever seen them act this way before.

The other wolves, both gray and red appeared agitated and were moving around their enclosures a lot more than usual. it was most noticeable with the male gray wolf, as he was right up front after he’d been nearly invisible for the past 3 weeks during our prior visits.

The two female Canadian Lynx kittens, who are always playful and testing their hunting skills on one another lay fast asleep for the longest time – before and after the eclipse.

The Big Cats, Leopards, and Tigers seemed to find romance on this special day. The male leopard came down from his rocky perch to check out the gorgeous female in the next enclosure.

The male tiger took particular interest in the female next door — she is a new arrival — and the two of them got really close nuzzling one another through the fence. She rolled around and he sprayed after whispering something in her ear. (Will we see Cubs in the near future?)

The red panda slept through the whole thing.

The howler monkeys and other apes were pretty much the same, climbing, cleaning one another, and being cute.

Just about every prairie dog was out and about, scurrying around and showing off for an adoring crowd. My granddaughter and I have been there a few times and we were lucky if we saw one or two outside.

The Vampire Bats, even though they are in a very controlled environment inside a building, were particularly active, flying around, clinging to the walls and spreading their wings. It was quite a show.

The most unusual behavioral change though was that of the River Otters, which are always having a good old time swimming and sliding and showing off. Before, during and after the eclipse they both were sleeping.

The two Condors that are almost never near one another when we visit actually shared a piece of meat just after the eclipse passed and the skies began to brighten.

As 2:45 p.m. approached the birds stopped singing and I didn’t notice any wild birds flying around either. About a half an hour after it was over, they returned and it was business as usual.




Beardsley Zoo Begins It’s “Town/City Days” Series

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Jun 222017

Every summer and fall, Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, 1875 Noble Ave, Bridgeport, offers special admission pricing for one specific city or town in the area on one special Saturday.

To start things off, this week, Saturday, June 24 is Milford Day.

With proof of residency, Milford residents will be admitted to the zoo for only $5! Regular admission is $15 for adults 12 and older; $12 for children 3-11; $11 for seniors 62 and older; children under 3 years admitted free.

The Beardsley Zoo is a wonderful, nearby, easy day trip for anyone to enjoy. The new Female Amur Tiger is now out and looking beautiful basking in the sun. The prairie dogs have been particularly playful this month and the otters are simply entertaining as they splash and slide around in their pool.

We will let you know when Orange Day is coming up so you can plan to take advantage of this phenomenal discount.